White Ash


White Ash (Fraxinus Americana)

Description:

Another rare native tree that turns up in surprising places – not only in West Prince, but in scattered patches in Kings and Queens counties as well. It is a tall, slender tree with gray or light brown bark, furrowed into diamond patterns. The leaves are compound, with small stems attaching leaflets to the main stem. The leaflets tend to be slightly rounded. Buds are opposite, furry and dark brown.

 

Growing Conditions:

This ash tolerates a wide variety of conditions, from moist soil to dry sites, from partial shade to full sun. It makes its best growth on rich, well-drained sites and light shading.

Propagation:

Seed should be collected from the tree if possible. Crops are usually quite heavy and can hang on late into the year. Throughout September and into October, collect the seed and plant as soon as possible. If the seed is allowed to dry out, it may take two years to germinate. Plant seeds every 2 in. (5 cm), in rows 6 in. (15 cm) apart, at a depth of 1/4 in. (6 mm). White ash makes very fast growth, generally over 12″ (30 cm) each year, so you can have very nice seedlings to plant out quite quickly.

Wildlife Uses:

The seeds are an important food source for red-winged blackbird, evening grosbeak, pine grosbeak, purple finch and other birds. Beavers often use young white ash for food.

Areas of usage:

Along with red oak, yellow birch and white pine, it is a favorite tree for reforestation. It can be used to diversify existing plantations, under planted after thinnings and planted in small openings in areas of old field white spruce. It grows quickly and can be used where raspberries and other competition might pose a problem. The wood is very valuable and used in making canoe paddles and tool handles, framing light vehicles and for a wide variety of other purposes. It is also excellent as an ornamental and can be used as a component in windbreaks.

Additional Information:

A few scattered white ash still exist throughout PEI. They are medium-sized trees around 50 feet in height and rarely exceeding one foot in diameter in this province. the trunk is tall and straight even when grown in the open. The crown is broadly rounded to pyramidal in outline, made up of moderately stout ascending branches. It grows best on a deep, well-drained soil along streams and on lower slopes, in protected situations. It is found scattered in small groups among other hardwoods. The wood is values chiefly for its toughness and resilience, hence, it is used for framework of light vehicles, in aircraft construction, skis, long handled tools and bentwood construction. The tree is often planted for ornamental purposes.

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